Friday, September 02, 2005

A Great Opportunity For Governor Fletcher

The number that jumps out from the page is 17%. That is the number that the Louisville CJ's Bluegrass Poll says represents Kentucky registered voters who say they think they will vote for Governor Fletcher in 2007.

My first thought was to look for problems with the methodology of the poll. My only possible problem is with the question that generated the 17% answer. Here it is:

In 2007, voters will decide whether to re-elect Ernie Fletcher as governor of Kentucky. As you feel today, do you think you will vote to re-elect Ernie Fletcher, or will you consider voting for someone else, or do you think you will vote to replace Fletcher?

Nevertheless, as far as any poll more than two years out from election day (and more importantly one that doesn't list even one possible opponent) could have meaning, this one does. But the number that holds the most meaning is 44%. That is the job approval rating for Governor Fletcher. At what is likely the low point of the merit hiring debacle, that is not a bad number. The Impeachment Six group of legislators and their favorite lefty blogger will, I think, continue to ride the Beat Ernie Now train right off their own cliff.

The opportunity for Governor Fletcher is to tighten up his organization for a productive 2006 legislative session. If he and the Senate can line up needed reforms and if the loudest detractors stay loud (a pretty safe bet!) he may find Kentucky's voters ready to send a majority of Republican State Representatives to Frankfort to drown out the bickering.

This opportunity is a fragile one and if it is mishandled it could cut the opposite direction quickly and decisively. I suggest taking on the Business Forum On Kentucky Education recommendations immediately and then quickly and publicly addressing the Medicaid situation. Tough and easily demagogued moves are required there. Engage the public on the important issues and, please, don't mention the Attorney General by name in regard to the merit investigation ever again.

The radio shows and newspaper columns are a great idea. I hope using these vehicles to address real issues will prove beneficial to the entire state.